September 17: The Temple Beggar

Read Acts 3:1-26

What was it about this particular day that made Peter choose to stop and give the crippled beggar all that he had? I mean, why today? Why now? The Bible says the man was put there every day “to beg from those going into the temple courts (v2).” It also implies that Peter and John went there each afternoon at 3:00 to pray. Put the two facts together, and we can assume that the three men encountered each other daily. So why now?

I wonder if Peter noticed the man before this day. Did he usually give him even a smile? I mean, did Peter and John feel the uncomfortable that so many of us often feel when face-to-face with an I-have-no-idea-how-to-help-this-person-so-I’ll-just-ignore-him kind of situation? You know, like the lady that stands at the entrance to Wal-Mart and holds a sign that says, “Please help.” Or the man you saw last time you were in Cleveland who had no legs and sat begging outside Progressive Field. I tend to think that Peter the man who used to be Simon would have succumbed to the angst of the uncomfortable and probably avoided the beggar altogether. But Peter the Rock who had been changed by Jesus Christ, been given the keys to heaven itself, well he did just the opposite.

The Scripture says that when the man asked for money, Peter and John “looked straight at him.” They got right in his face and gave him the grace of Jesus in the form of dignity. How many times had that man been ignored? I imagine his eyes got used to just staring at the ground, at the feet of those from whom he begged. And that was only the beginning! Peter and John begged the man’s attention and then they gave him what he really needed.

Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk (v6).

Peter could have easily tossed some money into the man’s little beggar’s cup on his way in to talk with God. But instead, he gave the man what only Jesus Christ could give him — complete healing for his body. Complete healing for his soul. Only Jesus Christ could have done that for the man. Only Jesus Christ could have made Peter the kind of man that could be used in such a way. That’s what the grace of God does — it heals completely, and it makes us bold. And when we know it like Peter did, we can’t help but give it out.


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